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Greek Spinach & Feta Pie (Spanakopita)

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Serves eight.

Yields one 9x13x2-inch pie.

  • Make the menu:
    A Greek Meze Party
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 93

Spanakopita can also be made with other greens, such as dandelion or chard, in place of spinach. You can use 1 lb. frozen chopped spinach instead of fresh. Thaw the spinach overnight or in a colander under warm running water. Squeeze out the liquid and skip the pan-wilting step.

For the filling:
  • 2 lb. fresh spinach, washed, dried, trimmed, and coarsely chopped
  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch scallions (about 3 oz. or 10 small), white and light-green parts only, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 2 cups crumbled feta cheese (10 oz.)
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Greek kefalotyri cheese or Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • Kosher or fine sea salt
For the assembly:
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil for brushing; more as needed
  • Eighteen 9x14-inch sheets frozen phyllo dough (I use Athens brand), thawed and at room temperature
  • 2 tsp. whole milk
Tip:
Phyllo dries out very fast and becomes brittle when exposed to the air. Check out our test kitchen tips for working with it.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.

Make the filling: Heat a 10-inch straight-sided saute pan over medium-high heat. Add a few large handfuls of the spinach and cook, tossing gently with tongs. As the spinach starts to wilt, add the rest a few handfuls at a time. Cook until all the spinach is wilted and bright green, about 4 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the spinach to a colander set in a sink. Let cool slightly and squeeze with your hands to extract as much of the remaining liquid as you can.

Wipe the pan dry with a paper towel. Heat the oil in the pan over medium heat. Add the scallions and cook until soft and fragrant, about 4 minutes. Stir in the spinach, turn off the heat, and let cool for 5 minutes. Then stir in the cheeses, eggs, dill, parsley, nutmeg, and 1/2 tsp. salt and mix thoroughly.

Assemble the pie: With a pastry brush, lightly coat the bottom and sides of a 9x13x2-inch baking pan with some of the oil. Working quickly, lightly oil one side of a phyllo sheet and lay it in the pan oiled side up and off center so that it partially covers the bottom and reaches halfway up one long side of the pan (the edge on the bottom of the pan will be about 1 inch from the side). Lightly oil the top of another phyllo sheet and lay it oiled side up and off center so it reaches halfway up the other long side of the pan. (If your pan has sloped sides, the sheets may be slightly longer than the bottom of the pan; if so, let the excess go up one short side of the pan and then alternate with subsequent sheets.) Repeat this pattern with 4 more phyllo sheets.

Next, lightly oil the tops of 3 phyllo sheets and layer them oiled side up and centered in the pan. Spread the filling evenly over the last layer.

Repeat the oiling and layering of the remaining 9 phyllo sheets over the filling in the same way you layered the previous 9. With the oiled bristles of the pastry brush, push the edges of the phyllo down around the sides of the pan to enclose the filling completely.

With a sharp knife, score the top phyllo layer into 24 rectangles, being careful not to cut all the way through to the filling. Using the same pastry brush, brush the milk along all the score marks (this will keep the phyllo from flaking up along the edges of the squares). Bake the spanakopita until the top crust is golden brown, 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool until just warm. Cut out the rectangles carefully along the score marks and serve.

Make Ahead Tips

You can make the pie up to 4 hours ahead. Keep warm, if desired, or serve at room temperature.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 400; Fat (g): fat g 27; Fat Calories (kcal): 240; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 9; Protein (g): protein g 13; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 14; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 28; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2.5; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 790; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 90; Fiber (g): fiber g 3;

Photo: Scott Phillips

A very satisfying spanakopita with a great depth of flavor. All the details make a difference in the final product. I use clarified butter for the phyllo because i prefer the flavor of butter with spinach, and I just add extra layers of phyllo to avoid wasting part of the package and because i like to have a lot of flaky crust anyway. Despite the instructions, i find it reheated nicely for several days @15 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Absolutely delicious! So much so I'm making not one, but TWO more again tonight to eat all week. I added more feta - that's just my personal preference. Only thing, would have liked a picture of how to assemble the phyllo sheets - found it a bit confusing. Other then that, this is a winner for sure!

This is the best spanakopita recipe. I too use cooking spray as an alternative to oil on each sheet.

I have made this 7 times to rave reviews from family and friends. Some things I have learned: Spraying Pam on filo leaves is a snap compared to brushing with oil/butter and Far less greasy. This tastes BETTER the next day so it can be made ahead. Follow the recipe to the letter. Adding more of anything or omitting anything will make a huge difference and may disappoint.

Mine had a higher ratio of cheese to spinach than what is shown, and I thought it should be more spinach-y than it was. Hard to complain though, because it was very good, just something I would alter for next time. I let it rest until almost cool; it set up nicely and was surprisingly easy to cut (which I was nervous about).

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